2021 WEEK 32: Sound

“Sound is the vocabulary of nature.” – Pierre Schaeffer

While photography is a visual art, I thought it would be fun this week to engage more than just our visual sense when making our photos. In particular, I want you to make the viewer hear something (in their imagination) when looking at your photo. There should be plenty of sounds that have a near universal shared experience among those who have the ability to hear – and even those who are deaf can often feel the vibrations of sound waves of some louder sounds.

Record Needle by Eric Minbiole
When I look at this photo, I “hear” (in my imagination) the scratch of the needle across the grooves of the record, but someone else might hear their favorite song of their childhood – the one that they played over and over. That said, it’s possible that those who are younger than I may not hear anything at all because they’ve never used a record player and can’t relate to it! 😉

There are a few ways you can go about the challenge this week. The most obvious is to take photos of things that make a sound that most people can relate to: musical instruments being played, a baby crying, traffic in a city, water boiling on the stove, an insect buzzing, wind through trees, etc. The trick is to figure out how to photograph the subject in such a way as to make the viewer hear the sound in their head.

Sound by Gerwin Sturm
Sound by Gerwin Sturm
The vibration of the lower string lets the viewer know that this instrument is being played. If the viewer plays guitar, they might even hear the exact note that this string makes. And even though I’m not a guitar player, I can imagine the sound of a single string being plucked even if it’s not the exact note.

You might also choose to sit quietly, close your eyes and take notice of your local soundscape. For example, I am currently sitting at my father’s kitchen table in the early morning hours. I hear a clock ticking, the air conditioning, and my fingers typing on the keyboard. A bit earlier I heard water boiling as I made my morning coffee – and then the sound made when I poured that coffee into my mug. And now I hear the garbage truck outside. Not all of these will make a great photo, but a couple of them might and at the very least I have quieted my mind to better focus on the task at hand.

Time by Eric Minbiole
Time by Eric Minbiole
By using a slow shutter speed to capture the motion of the pendulum, it’s more likely that someone will “hear” the tick-tock of the clock when they view the photo.

This week’s challenge summary:

  • Create a photo that makes the viewer hear a sound in their imagination.
  • Post your photo during the week of Sunday, August 8 and Saturday, August 14.

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Take a new photo for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Post your photo each week to our active communities on Facebook or Flickr (or both). Tag the photo: #2021photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2021 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

About thedigitaljeanie

I’m a self-taught photographer and way back when I used to love taking photos, but I allowed a business that I started in 2004 to take over my life and my photographic repertoire was reduced to quick product shots and how-to tutorials. When I joined the PhotoChallenge in December 2015, I was looking to rekindle my creativity and bring some joy back into my photography. I jumped in with both feet and have not looked back. I believe that photography can change the way we see and interact with the world around us. Some people may think that I hide behind the camera, but I feel that I experience the world in a much more intimate way when I am creating a composition in my viewfinder. In those moments distractions disappear, my mind focuses and I am fully present. It is just me and my camera capturing a moment in time that might otherwise go unnoticed. My background is as varied as the photos that I take. I’ve trained and worked as a software engineer, a massage therapist, an English teacher in Vietnam, a photo restoration artist (which is how I learned Photoshop) and for the past twelve years I have run a small software business with my husband where I have been published in numerous books and magazines, appeared on PBS television, created designs for fabric, quilts and machine embroidery and won awards for some of my quilts. It should come as no surprise that I am intensely curious about life and love to learn new things. I am blessed to live in the beautiful state of Colorado, USA in the Rocky Mountain foothills outside of Fort Collins with my husband and cat. You can find me online at: Photos: flickr.com/photos/the-digital-jeanie/ Day job: KaleidoscopeCollections.com Facebook: facebook.com/jeaniesa